Relates to orders for child support obligors to seek employment or participate in job training, employment counseling or other available programs designed to lead to employment.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the family court act and the social services law, in relation to orders for child support obligors to seek employment or participate in job training, employment counseling or other available programs designed to lead to employment
This is one in a series of measures being introduced at the request of the Chief Administrative Judge upon the recommendation of her Family Court Advisory and Rules Committee.
Chapter 182 of the Laws of 2010 added a new section 437-a to the Family Court Act authorizing Family Court to require individuals who are liable for child support, other than those who are receiving supplemental security income or social security disability benefits, to seek employment or to participate in job training, employment counseling or other available programs designed to lead to employment. This salutary provision adds to the tools available to Family Court to enhance the collection of child support for the benefit of children and families. However, in two respects, the new statute is unnecessarily limiting, that is, in the individuals covered by the law and in the phases of child support proceedings to which the law applies. This measure would remove these limitations.
First, the measure would substitute the phrase "support obligor" for the term "respondent" in both Family Court Act §437-a and Social Services Law § 111-h, since the parent liable for child support is not always the respondent in the proceeding before Family Court. For example, a parent who seeks a downward modification of his or her child support obligation is deemed the petitioner in such an action. Significantly, the legislative history behind chapter 182 uses the phrase "non-custodial parent," not respondent, indicating a legislative intent that the statute not be limited in scope to respondents. See Legislative Memorandum in Support of A.8952 . Moreover, the Federal requirement for states to have procedures in place for issuance of employment related orders applies to individuals who owe "overdue" child support, not simply respondents in child support proceedings. See 42 U.S.C.A. §666(a)(15).
Second, the measure would amend section 437-a to authorize employment-related orders to be made in proceedings to modify or enforce, as well as to establish, orders of child support and would harmonize section 454 of the Family Court Act with the parameters of the new statute. Family Court Act §437-a refers only to proceedings to establish child support, thus implying that employment-related directives may only be issued at the stage of issuance of an initial order of child support. This creates an apparent inconsistency with Family Court Act §454, which permits such orders to be made as a remedy for violations of child support orders albeit only in cases where the persons for whom the support obligor has failed to pay support are applicants for or recipients of public assistance. Moreover, Family Court Act §437-a in its current form fails to
authorize such orders in proceedings in which support obligors seek downward modifications of child support orders in which they may be extremely helpful. This measure would, therefore, encompass modification and violation proceedings in the authorization for employment-related directives. With respect to violation proceedings, it would expand the work program referral provisions of section 454 of the Family Court Act (FCA 454(2)(h)) to include all child support obligors who have failed to pay child support as ordered and not just those who are obligated to pay support for applicants or recipients of public assistance.
This measure, which would have no fiscal impact upon the State, would take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.
2011 LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: OCA 2011-23 Senate 4091 (Savino) [Judiciary]
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4091--A 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 17, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. SAVINO -- (at request of the Office of Court Adminis- tration) -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said commit- tee AN ACT to amend the family court act and the social services law, in relation to orders for child support obligors to seek employment or participate in job training, employment counseling or other available programs designed to lead to employment THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 437-a of the family court act, as added by chapter 182 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows: S 437-a. Referral to work programs. In any proceeding to establish, MODIFY OR ENFORCE an order of support, if the
[respondent]SUPPORT OBLI- GOR is unemployed, the court may require the [respondent]SUPPORT OBLI- GOR to seek employment, or to participate in job training, employment counseling or other programs designed to lead to employment provided such programs are available. The court shall not require the [respond- ent]SUPPORT OBLIGOR to seek employment or to participate in job train- ing, employment counseling, or other programs designed to lead to employment under this section if the [respondent]SUPPORT OBLIGOR is in receipt of supplemental security income or social security disability benefits. S 2. Paragraph (h) of subdivision 2 of section 454 of the family court act, as added by chapter 214 of the laws of 1998, is amended to read as follows: (h) the court may require the respondent [, if the persons for whom the respondent has failed to pay support are applicants for or recipients of public assistance,]to participate in work activities as defined in title nine-B of article five of the social services law. Those respond-EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD09518-04-1 S. 4091--A 2
ents ordered to participate in work activities need not be applicants for or recipients of public assistance. S 3. Subdivision 20 of section 111-h of the social services law, as added by chapter 182 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows: 20. If the
[respondent]SUPPORT OBLIGOR is required to participate in work programs pursuant to section four hundred thirty-seven-a of the family court act, and the court enters an order of support on behalf of the persons in receipt of public assistance, the support collection unit shall not file a petition to increase the support obligation for twelve months from the date of entry of the order of support if the [respond- ent's]SUPPORT OBLIGOR'S income is derived from participation in such programs. S 4. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.